Brittany Ferries, in consortium with the Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund (ESIF), has reached an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Condor Ferries from Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). Contracts have been signed and the deal is expected to be executed following scrutiny by relevant regulatory authorities. Brittany Ferries will hold a minority stake.
Condor Ferries is an operator of lifeline freight and passenger ferry services. Each year, Condor Ferries carries approximately 1 million passengers, 200,000 passenger vehicles, and over 900,000 freight lane meters between Guernsey, Jersey, the United Kingdom, and the Port of St. Malo in France.
Brittany Ferries began operations in 1973. Today its fleet includes twelve ships connecting France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. It operates from three ports in the UK, Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth and carries around 2.5 million passengers every year, as well as 210,000 freight units.
ESIF is a new open-ended, evergreen fund that invests in European mid-market equity assets, managed by leading global asset management group Columbia Threadneedle Investments.
Heiko Schupp, Global Head of Infrastructure Investments at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said:
"This acquisition is exciting news for us as it marks the first investment for the Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund. We believe the fund's evergreen structure and flexible approach to capital investments is best-suited for investing into long-term and stable infrastructure assets such as Condor Ferries. We are delighted to have partnered with Brittany Ferries on the acquisition and look forward to working with management, employees and the Channel Islands towards the long-term security and development of Condor's ferry services."
Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries said:
"We are delighted to be part of the consortium that has agreed to acquire Condor Ferries. Brittany Ferries and Condor enjoy a long history in commercial operations and a closer cooperation between the two companies will create opportunities for sharing expertise and best practice. We believe this is a positive step and look forward to playing our part in supporting the economies and communities of the Channel Islands into the long term."
Jean-Marc Roué Chairman of Brittany Ferries said:
"I am proud and honoured that we have concluded a partnership with the Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund. It allows us to reconnect with a route to the Channel Islands that Brittany Ferries operated in the past."
Deputy Charles Parkinson, President of the Committee for Economic Development said:
"The sale of Condor Ferries to the consortium of Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Brittany Ferries is extremely positive news for Guernsey and the Channel Islands. The sale of Condor to a consortium of proven long-term investors and a respected European ferry operator, with many successful years' operating freight and passenger services between the UK and France, gives us reason to have great confidence in the long-term security and development of our ferry services. Having had the opportunity to meet with the new investors I am also confident in their commitment to help Condor deliver ongoing improvements to the resilience, reliability and affordability of our passenger and freight services, something an operator the size of Brittany Ferries is well equipped to help do even in the short-term. Once competition approvals for the transaction have been granted, we look forward to working with Condor Ferries and their new shareholders to help ensure a successful and secure future for this vital lifeline service to Guernsey."
Chief Executive of Condor Ferries Paul Luxon said:
"We are delighted with today's announcement confirming an agreement has been reached by our current shareholder, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, to sell its 100% interest in Condor Ferries to a consortium of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, the majority shareholder, and Brittany Ferries. The new shareholders wholeheartedly share our vision and strategy for maintaining and developing essential Channel Islands' lifeline ferry services across the freight supply chain, Islander travel and tourism sectors. Having met with senior executives of CTI and BF on several occasions, the company welcomes such experience and expertise from the new shareholders, and having introduced them to key stakeholders including politicians and senior civil servants, discussions on fleet replacement and future investment will continue. Condor Ferries' management and staff will continue to deliver the five year business plan that is underway and focus on providing efficient and effective sea connectivity to support the Channel Islands' economies."
Guernsey's Harbourmaster, Captain David Barker said:
"Guernsey Harbours welcome today's announcement of the sale of Condor Ferries by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets to a consortium of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, the majority shareholder, and Brittany Ferries. This news should give confidence to passengers and commercial freight customers who plan to use Condor to travel and ship goods to and from Guernsey in the coming months and years ahead. Guernsey Harbours is looking forward to a strong working partnership with the new owners; and the opportunity to discuss their future plans and strategy for the vital ro-ro ferry operation into Guernsey."